The Criminal Court System

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The Criminal Court System Heather Conley Law & Society (LS308) April 5, 2011 Professor Urban Cleaves The Criminal Court System The United States court system as a whole has many parts to it and is very complex. Many facets of the court system have been featured in movies and television, but today we will discuss what truly happens within the real criminal court system. In this paper we will discuss the following: the functions of the criminal court system, the functions of the attorneys within the system, and the role and functionality the judge and jury play with in this system. The function of criminal courts within the criminal justice field is to settle disputes and to try to determine if a suspect or offender is guilty or not guilty of a crime they are being tried for. This would typically be the second step for an offender entering the criminal justice system. Typically, a judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, and/or a jury are involved in the proceedings. The offender faces trail and the evidence is told to the judge or jury so they can figure out whether or not the accused is innocent or guilty. If found guilty, the judge than can set a fine, give probation, or send the offender to jail, depending on the type of crime committed. The criminal justice system in the United States has traditionally operated under two fundamentally different theories. One theory is the Crime Control Model. This theory is characterized by the idea that criminals should be aggressively pursued and crimes aggressively punished. The other theory is the Due Process Model. This theory is characterized by the idea that the rights of the accused need to be carefully protected in any criminal justice investigation. (Levy, 1999) The Due Process Model emphasizes the adversary system. The Due Process model also puts an emphasis on the rights of the person or people who are

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